In Palermo, the most famous and
oldest place where vasteddi
are sold is the Antica Focacceria San
Francesco, located across the Church of San Francesco, in Via Alessandro
Vasteddi can also be
sampled from street vendors located throughout the city.
In our family eatery, the “Focacceria Palermitana”, Joe’s of
Avenue “U” in Brooklyn, the vastedda was one of the most sought-after delicacies.
We made vasteddi every day, but Saturday was the busiest
day; a family member or one of the most trusted workers would be making
the vasteddi that were sold as fast as they were
The vastedda, also called pane ca’ meusa, is a roll stuffed with boiled
spleen cooked in lard and served with a thick slice of lemon.
The majority of people
like the vastedda made with the spleen covered in
ricotta, shavings of Caciocavallo cheese and baked until the cheese melt; this is called “guastella maritata,” “sandwich married.”
schietta, the “sandwich single” or “unmarried,” consists of a roll
stuffed with ricotta sautéed in the lard, covered with cheese and toasted until the cheese
The vastedda is well liked not only by
natives of Palermo, but also by many Sicilians, by people from other parts of Italy and their children and by
daring gourmets, some of whom were regular customers of our “Focacceria.”
· 6 soft rolls, sliced halfway across
· 1 veal spleen, weighing about 2 lb
· ½ lb lard
· 1 lb ricotta
· ¼ lb Caciocavallo or pecorino cheese, shredded
A day ahead, boil the spleen for 45 minutes in an abundant amount of salted water.
Slice the spleen very thin, about 1/8 of an inch and set
Place the lard and 3 tablespoons of water in a skillet over low
When it starts to boil, add the spleen
and fry it in the lard for a few minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, pick up some spleen, drip some lard from the meat and place it inside a roll. Pressing with
the slotted spoon against the meat, drain as much lard as possible. Cover the meat with ricotta, sprinkle with some
cheese and, when all the vasteddi
are made, bake at 350 degrees for a few minutes, until cheese and ricotta combine and bread is lightly
The vastedda, or pane ca’ meusa, is a delicacy enjoyed in
Palermo and by Palermitani all
over the world.
At our Focacceria in Brooklyn, the
vasteddi were consumed by a
large clientele: by gourmets and by some of our most courageous customers not necessarily of Sicilian
The slices of boiled veal spleen,
fried in lard, stuffed in a soft roll and covered with Caciocavallo cheese, may not sound sensational, but when
the smell of cheese and the flavor of the spleen blend into your mouth, a delicious and addictive sensation
fulfills all your senses and you will be converted into a vastedda aficionado.